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Not All For Love



A Book of Poetry



J.T. Marsh



Published by J.T. Marsh at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 J.T. Marsh



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1.



The artlessness of love

is appreciated by

the young and the old,

the poor and the rich,

the intemperate and the chaste;

it’s not an art

to express love,

but to be in love,

in love the intoxicated

feeling leading one

to do things

one would never do,

to say things

one would never say,

becoming an act,

putting on a performance

for all the world to see,

if only anyone were to look.

In love, we become

as actors, broken into

creative circles,

turning against our own,

immersing ourselves

in a role we know

nothing about,

our passion

turning each of us

into people other than

who we are. But

the passion inside us

that gives

becomes the art,

by virtue of its hiding

in each of us it an art

no one will ever see but

each of us in turn. It’s

white teeth, blackened by

the slick runoff of a

closed boom floating on the

water. We’re in love, trapped

in love, drowning beneath a

rising tide that subsides over

time, in the meanwhile our

wistful gazes forlorn and

immaculately plain.



2.



In purity, there is

devotion.

In passion, there is

enlightenment.

In the forest, in the morning

a mist floats through the

thin beams of light

penetrating the treetop

canopy. In the forest,

it seems like the Garden

of Eden, with a light,

ethereal music seeming

to naturally float in the air. (So

far, I’m not greyed-out, but

looking like a force-landed

fool, seeing action, but not

active). In the forest, the

morning’s mist fades into

an afternoon’s warmth.

Love becomes the mask

we put on, the role we play,

converting our selves into

vessels through which our

love can find expression,

becoming instruments in

which we serve some

higher purpose, some

loftier ideal. Don’t

worry, our

fleetingly fragile

senses crossing the

line, the already-blurred line

between salvation and sin.

Love blinds us

to the goings-on in the world

outside that narrow beam

of light that our love

casts on us, moments

of truth illuminated, here

and there, as they float through

like specks of dust

caught in a light breeze.

Love takes us deep

into a forest of self-indulgence,

into a place hidden

for all to see, notorious

behind its own art, infamous

for its own artlessness,

saddled by its own

promiscuity, its own faith. It’s

tonight, through the night,

under a gathering storm we

find ourselves contemplating

what lies ahead, unconcerned

as we are with

what lies behind us all.

And love, once granted

control over our selves,

becomes our new religion,

gaudy, evasive, scant, a

night fighter variant acting as

an early mark, seeing us

through to the early morning’s light.

In purity,

we find meaning,

we find truth,

we find a whole

we seek to make ourselves.



3.



A young woman

is like a treasure,

understated,

vigorous,

sublime.

Her eyes, full of a hope

that glitters in the morning’s sun.

Her hair, shimmering

in the pale moonlight.

Her voice, like a song

floating lightly through the mist.

Her skin, smooth

and soft to the touch.

In the early-morning’s fog,

I sometimes imagine

I can hear her voice

behind a foghorn that bellows

with the passing of each ship

along the river, heading out to sea,

the sound of her voice hidden

by the

crashing of waves

against a rocky shore.

In beauty, there is truth.

In truth, there is beauty.

(But in what

haphazard fashion

do we assail, avail ourselves of

love’s link to link’s lynx link?)

A young woman

is like a treasure,

a treasure I’ve known all my life,

a treasure I’ve yet to know,

so pure and so elegant for the

dull and coarse feeling of it all,

gleaming in the afternoon’s sun,

radiating a warmth,

gliding effortlessly

from one moment to the next

as if floating on a cloud,

a pristine, white cloud;

if you look on her

at just the right moment

it might seem she’s

perfectly still

even as she’s

moving so fast

you can’t trap her in the

moment, no matter

how hard you try. This

can’t happen, we all

think, not here, not there,

nor anywhere in-between,

all those disclaimers

making me want this

even more.



4.



An amber glow,

an pale green light,

in the pale moonlight

love seeming like a

dance, an elegant

waltz, set against an

imagined melody.

As our song fades

into a rich, full silence,

I drop to one knee,

take her hand in mine,

and pledge undying

love for her, as if

to seal the moment

under a glass case

of gravely-elected

greetings, smug, pitiable.

Unwavering devotion,

it seems a noble pursuit,

even as we live in a world

where devotion is as

criminal, as denounced.

An amber glow,

an pale green light,

in the hot summer’s sun

love radiating a

warmth all-encompassing,

rich, full, a warmth

building slowly to

a searing heat, a heat

pregnant with an humidity,

a heat that causes her blouse

to cleave to her chest and

her hair to become a

tangled, matted mess.

In her state, the heat

accentuates her shapely,

curvaceous figure, rousing

in me a desire, a hunger

for her hardly unlike

a starving jackal in

search of his next meal.

An amber glow,

an pale green light,

in the heat of the moment

nor can we resist our

passions, nor can we

keep ourselves from

indulging in pleasures

of the flesh, pleasures

both subtle and gross.

In her I find an

spiritual release,

of a kind that

sure can’t be found

in any other hall, in

any other hearth, like a

fire’s theatre playing for an

empty hall, standing-room

only, each seat filled with

a thinly-veiled outline of the

people who were

never there.



5.



Passion lies in the essence

of fire, of the flames

cautiously searching for

just the right spot at

the centre of it all,

anxiously crawling

along the edges,

young, impudent,

at the whim of things

it cannot know. But

on reaching some

unknowable stage in its

adolescence, passion,

as with the flames,

becomes confident,

arrogant, even,

relentlessly attacking

with no regard for itself,

consuming everything

within its reach,

aggressive,

domineering,

yet vulnerable

in ways it cannot know.

At full strength, passion,

as with the flames,

comes to acquire its

victory, fantastically

finding favour far from

where favour’s usually found.

There sometimes comes

a point when our passion,

as with the flames,

suddenly become stronger,

as if by a dial turned all the way up,

surging, burning hot, as if

to set the whole world alight.

And when our passion

burns itself out,

it leaves behind

a smouldering wreck,

a blackened husk,

a heap of debris

left as a warning

to all who might be

tempted to give in

to their hearts’ most

intemperate demands.

We willingly,

enthusiastically

subject ourselves to

the terror,

the panic,

immersing ourselves

in the flames of passion,

given as we are

to the noble pursuits

of the heart.



Addendum.



We see love as noble,

but our love can never be

as noble as what we see.



6.



In a state of mind,

not altogether far from

the drunken tomfoolery

we sometimes find ourselves in,

it’s easy to forget

the special times we’ve had,

all the intimate moments

and the embarrassing secrets

we’ve shared under the

influence of the

insidious, malodorous

intoxication we call love.

We mistake ourselves

for passionate lovers,

when, in fact, we are

governed by little more

than toxic mix of feelings

stewing about inside each of

our selves, like some

industrial, mechanical

process, chemicals

injected here, then

pressure applied there,

the whole mix heated

to a thousand degrees

until it’s become

something entirely unlike

what it’s been, something

artificial, something manufactured,

something made to be something

other than what it was. But

love, true love, cannot be

manufactured; true love is

not artificial, not felt. In

the heat of the moment,

an eccentric, unwitting

partner makes itself

joined with what’s ours. This,

then, is our love.

Love is patient,

it’s said, love is kind.

It does not envy,

it does not boast,

it is not proud.

It does not dishonour others,

it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love is not a feeling,

but a surrender to the

purity of union with another.

It always protects,

trusts,

hopes,

perseveres.

Love can never fail,

for love is unassailable

by the forces massed

against it, emerging

as it does from a darkness

gleaming in the light.



7.



None have been

so wounded as to

forget the joy and the

fear of love, in surrender

of the self to another.

No, none would have been

so bereft of hope as to

look back and see only

a sadness where once

there’d been serenity.

This is intended

as neither conviction

nor confusion; I relate to you,

now, the story of a

woman I’d once fallen

in love with, once

fallen in love with having

never forgotten her, nor

forgiven myself for

letting her slip through my grasp.

She,

her hair long, flowing,

the colour of a pristine oak.

She,

her eyes twinkling

when the moonlight strikes just so.

She,

her voice grating, harsh,

so unlike the feminine, yet right.

She,

her figure shapely, curvaceous,

with lines striking, daring.

In time, she came to

fall in love with me;

an devotion of the heart

I’d done nothing to earn,

nothing to deserve, yet

given anyways, she

in an act of

kindness and grace

taking me into her heart

like a prophet

admitting a pilgrim

to some holy place.

In a rare moment of

honesty,

I can

admit weakness,

I can

show softness,

I can

confess a vulnerability

when I am with her

as I can never

bring myself

to confess

when I am with any other

woman I’ve ever known



8.



In love,

we become blind

to the flaws in our love,

to all the little imperfections and

to all the little nuances

that make our love so real.

In love,

we become enamoured

of an idea of our love,

of a conception we have of her,

of an idea we’ve made up of her,

entirely in our own minds.

In love,

we create fiction,

in an elaborate fraud,

in the spirit of self-delusion,

in, perhaps, an act of self-defence,

prefer a fiction as we do

to the harshness of the

world we live in.

As young men,

we find ourselves

made out to be

little better than animals,

ravenous, hungry, seeking

only a sexual release;

I suspect she thought of

me in this way as we first meet,

never quite proven wrong

her suspicions were. For

all my pretensions, for

all my aspirations to the

nobility of true love,

there comes the odd time,

here and there,

when I heatedly

forgive an devoted,

dismissive looking-on.

As I commit myself

to the idea of our having found

true love in each other,

an perverse joy

exchanges between us.

In love,

we are they

other than

who they are,

caricatures

of ourselves,

thinly-veiled parodies

of the real people

we’d used to be.

In love,

we are only

too eager to indulge

in the fantasy of

ourselves as

noble,

pure,

honest,

an indulgence,

for a time,

proving too

tantalizing to deny.



9.



So long as

we limit ourselves

to the pleasures of the flesh,

we deny ourselves

all that love has to offer.

In her, I find

a salvation from

such crudeness as

we enforce upon ourselves.

Burning,

our passion draws strength

from some almost-spiritual

place within each of us.

Burning,

we become consumed by

a raging wildfire expanding

to claim every part of us.

Burning,

our flames reach their apex

as pillars of brilliant, sickly colour

making night seem like day.

Burnt,

we are finished,

utterly spent, having

given each other everything

and left ourselves hollow.

It’s as though we’d become

vessels through which our love

could find expression,

expression once found leaving us

as empty shells, as burnt-out husks,

spent.

It’s strange,

though,

how satisfied we become

in finding ourselves as vessels,

as though we’ve found our

true purpose,

achieved our essence,

won through our

final victory and

laid bare the path

towards an defeat.

It’s a tragedy,

when we see ourselves

not yet unborn,

and we feel not sad

in serving our purpose,

as allowing our love to

become as inaudible.

Wonder, where

our love has gone

after having left us…

Wonder, who

will be the next blessed

to be chosen as we were…

Wonder, what

we must do, what we can do

to convince our love to visit

upon us again…



10.



After youth,

there comes a

time in life when

we become neither

adolescent nor adult,

expected to know

what we’re doing

even as we

don’t,

won’t,

can’t. It’s in

this state she found

me, she found me,

she found me, in this

state she found me,

in this state, where

I am vulnerable,

exposed,

able only to

think of the

way she makes me

feel warm whenever we touch,

her skin smooth and soft,

hands seeming to fit

perfectly into mine,

as though we were

made for each other

from the same mould. It’s

an adolescent notion,

alluring, alluring,

seizing on me

at exactly that moment,

that station in life

when I’m young enough

still to be vulnerable

but old enough

to know what I’m

getting myself into,

young enough to

be tempted into thinking

this might just be the one,

old enough to

know better. Still

I indulge in the fantasy,

in the romantic, quixotic fantasy

of true love, throwing myself

so completely, so helplessly

into what she offers,

pausing only to look

for the little glint in her eyes

that tells me

she, too

finds herself

in the same spot. Still,

as she is so much older,

laughing, the warmth,

the infectiousness in her laugh

sees out her

insecurities,

all the little self-doubts

as I know them to be;

ours is a love

never to be celebrated,

but to be carried out

in secret, devilishly,

like flaming coffins

scattered across a

burnt-out landscape

outside a fabled

lost city’s ramparts,

our love prolonged,

intense, feel

you might break,

as forbidden love

should be.



Addendum.



After falling in love,

there’re few feelings that

can match the

exhilaration

in surrender

of the self

to another.



11.



Directed by an

understated beauty,

we head upstairs

and soon find ourselves

trapped behind a hidden veil,

shrouded within a dense fog,

leaving her, ahead of me,

but we’re touching,

always touching,

there’s nothing I

wouldn’t do for her;

stand in the way of a bullet,

run through a forest aflame,

scale the highest mountains,

all for her, all for her. It’s

not as though

we’ve either

got much time.

We need to

make the most

of what we have.

We have to

make the most

of what we have.

Last night,

not last night

but the night

before last,

we live alone

in the middle

of a long, slow

descent into the

heady days of summer,

the darkness

of the forest’s floor

seems to welcome us,

in that one place she and I

becoming ourselves, becoming one.

In the midst

of a torrid, passionate affair,

we have become

warmed to each other,

in the middle of the

darkness our love

becoming our light.

But there’s a time,

and it’s coming, soon,

when the darkness

might overtake us,

and I hope,

when the time comes,

you’ll feel

the same excitement I feel

whenever we’re together.



12.



We’re

in each other’s way,

our love the

supreme obstacle

to our own selves,

love as pointed, terse,

unwittingly an interwoven

tone mocking

on ahead, dauntless.

Up ‘til now,

it’s been a mystery

to most of us

just how our love

supplies itself a

longingly,

garrulously

full fault.

In love,

we become

so completely cut off

from the real world

that it becomes suspect

to even consider there

might be such a thing

as a real world in the first place.

In love,

we indulge in

a fantasy of ourselves as

something other than

what we are, as convinced

as we are to believe in

the ideal, the sacred, the divine.

In love,

we find ourselves

enslaved to our feelings,

trapped in a vortex of emotions,

a storm of self-righteousness

from which there can be no escape.

Love,

then, is a weapon we

choose to use against ourselves.

Love,

then, becomes a

strike against decency.

Love,

then, announces itself

without fanfare, without calling

attention to itself.

Love,

then, is content

in its subdued state of being,

secure as it is in its final victory,

careful not to practice its righteousness

in front of others to be seen by them,

even as it puts itself on display

for all the world to see.

Love,

then, is itself

a contradiction,

an enigma,

across light-years

searching for itself.



13.



In circles

we run ourselves

ragged, raw,

in pursuit of a feeling,

never more sure of

ourselves than when

we are in pursuit of a feeling.

We all know the

intoxication, the way

our thoughts slur into one another

and the way a

warm haze obscures

our judgement like a

thick smog settling

over a river’s valley on a

frigid winter’s morning.

We willingly surrender

ourselves, our selves to

this feeling, this drunken feeling,

as if to make ourselves whole with it,

insanely, paradoxically

fronting itself an

fallacious and

condescending attitude.

In surrender

there is joy,

and in joy

there is loss,

the loss of the self

nothing when held

against the power of the

feeling. Still, like an

addict in search of his next fix,

we convince ourselves

relief lies

around every corner,

behind every turn,

on finding only

death and despair we

look

to the next corner,

to the next turn,

until we are

confronted with the

futility of our own lies.

Recovered, we are

steady, ready to face the

onslaught of an uncaring

world. Recovered, we might

make it through a short while

before we fall in love again.

In love again, we

fall prey to the same

temptations we’d once

worked so hard to overcome,

willingly throwing ourselves

back into the addiction

at first sight of our love.

In passion

there is sustenance

and in pain

there is joy,

and it’s in this sustenance I

look to what may come with

full force of an worried,

excited, distressed feeling

of being with her.



14.



After

having had

the love of my life,

there can be no other

source of love;

all pale in

comparison to

she who would be

the love of my life

and the object of my worship.

Like a poor man cast

off from the rocky shores,

I am adrift, tossed about

by waves crashing

against one another, a

salty spray stinging

in my nostrils and

a lurching feeling churning

my insides. But

there are glimpses

of her, here and there,

appearing on the

horizon like an ghostly

visage, haunting

with memories

of our short time

together. Looking

ahead into the

pages of memory, I

come across a

picture of her,

she wearing a sharp

scowl and resting

her hands on her hips,

seeming to loom

into view. It’s a

picture vivid to

pull me from

the present and

make good on the past;

in love, I am

like the tides at night,

heaving itself blindly

at the darkened cliffs,

only the pale moonlight

to cast a sickly glow

on the salty spray. We

have come full circle,

and in love we have

come to be obsessed

with finding our way

home, again. It’s

short, too short,

like a dotted line

reaching for the

horizon but only

reaching halfway

there.



15.



A feeling

called love

must provoke the

creation of its own

anti-feeling

called anti-love.

An hideous thing,

this anti-love,

an blackened cloud

gathering strength

over the horizon,

threatening to

unleash itself

at any moment.

Endemic to the

world we live in,

a cruel idea we

subject ourselves to

in the hopes of

meticulous, meritorious

sentiment becoming

visited upon us all.

As I wonder

on the love we’ve shared,

for the brief time

we’ve shared our love,

the thought occurs to me,

sneaking from a

dark crevasse someplace

in the back of my mind,

leaking forward like

a slick of oil along a

calm water’s surface.

This has become my shame;

falling in love with

the woman of my dreams

only to fall out of love with

her, step-for-step, each

sumptuous blue flame

obediently regretful,

impulsively amused.

To the pages of memory I have

committed her, neither

as she is nor as she was,

but as I hold her to be,

ideal, imperfect,

but to those same pages

committed as I hold her not to be,

actual, perfect;

it’s a fool’s endeavour.

A feeling is

but a sensation

drawn out over time,

left to fester, to gather

an insidious smell

until you can’t help but act on it.

A feeling is

like love, but not love,

nor a feeling unlike love,

but a fool’s endeavour, and I

wilfully come a fool,

surrendering to the

raw, electrifying surge of

power coursing through my

veins until I can do

anything the feeling

demands of me.

Her name,

the sound of her name

spoken silently is

lyrical, fantastical,

a sacred verse brought to life

by the part of me

choosing surrender to

the notion of our love.



Addendum.



In all this talk

of our love, may we

be forgiven for the

self-indulgence of it all.

If only we could

forgive ourselves!



16.



In once upon a time,

we were as two little

birds sleeping a body-width

apart while perched on a

slim wooden beam. A

love like her, I’ve

never known, will never

know again, couldn’t

have known even as

we were so close.

In becoming unlike we are,

we learn to discard

the self and embrace the

horror, the terror of it all.

But after having

fallen in love

with the woman

of my dreams, no

experience, no

sensation can compare,

all life seeming

dulled, grey. An

love that

reserves for itself

contrarian, abrasive,

hasty amusement,

like the sun’s setting

so early in the day

when winter’s

at its peak.

As time passes,

we become numb

to the pain of our

separation, learning to

imitate like animals

trained by forced repetition.

As time passes,

we are taught to

forget the joy in

surrender to another,

the joy I’ve felt only for her.

As time passes,

we learn, by

act of subversion, to

recall, in the way we can,

the way we used to feel,

our memory framed by the

hindrance of perspective,

trying to think, trying too hard.

Enough, nearly enough,

as memories of her

dirty-blonde hair and her

deep brown eyes and the way

her curvaceous figure

drew my eyes from

across a crowded room all

nearly enough to trick me

into thinking we are

trading surreptitious glances

as we used to, in a secret,

unspoken code only we knew,

her name, her name,

her voice, her voice,

her warmth, her warmth,

a trick I allow the

victory of deception

out of a desperate need

just to be

with her again.



17.



As we

have each other

after a lengthy separation,

it’s like the first

drink of water

after wandering

through the desert.

As we

put our hands on each other,

the softness of her skin

feels so unlike the

coarseness of mine,

at once the haughty,

unabashed blindness

of our love enslaving itself

to what’s surely ahead. It’s

self-absorbed, and I

can’t help but marvel at its

drunken, dreadful

impulsiveness, the way it

obediently regrets the

kind-heartedness of it all.

As we

kiss, the marvel fades,

replaced by an wholesome

satisfaction, an deeply

spiritual bliss.

As we

make love,

the feeling of being

immersed in each other’s

bodies bleeds into the

feeling of being as one,

as two people in a single

body, but for only a moment,

in exactly the time it takes

for us to claim our shared

climax, our minds blanking

as we blend into one another

and have our release.

After, as we

lay atop one another,

a storm of

disjointed, confusing

thoughts swirl about; I

gently push her aside

taking care not to wake her,

and I rise from our bed,

sitting up with my legs dangling

off the side, tips of my toes

a hair’s width from the floor.

An ocean’s breeze

floats in through our

room’s open window,

the curtains wafting

in the pale moonlight

looking like an ghostly

visage. The moment

runs a chill the length

of my spine, from a

spot at the small of my

back and reaching

the base of my neck

before turning inward,

burying itself in my

throat. A hand on my

shoulder, her hand. I’m

reassured. I’m freed. In the

oppression of love, I

find only freedom.



18.



An

effort made

for the sake

of our love, I’m

watching as she slips

through my fingers,

with her a last chance

at happiness disappearing.

An

vast distance has

come between us,

the days dominated by

an imagining, an

fantasizing of her warmth,

an recalling of the

touch of her skin on mine. In

passing, we meet, as if we are

carrying out an illicit affair,

her chest heaving, our bodies

glistening with sweat. It’s

a moment set in darkness,

but as we lie atop one another

a silence settles, broken

only by the

gentle rattling of the

blinds against the half-open

window. Love, I feel

an devotion to her

so intense it hurts, so

painful it frightens me. I

have to get away. I

need to get away. But I

can’t get away. If I

try, if I push her off me and

make for the door, we will

always be together,

we will never be apart,

ours is a love

that will pursue

me for so long

as I live, and she

would to try and

flee all the same

would find herself

pursued by a love

boundless, infinite in

feeling as would I. We

share in our fate, in

our consignment, our

resignation in surrender to

the harsh, cruel truths of the

world we live in, of the world

we’ve been made to believe we

live in, an fictional creation.

But it’s late, it’s always too

late. In a tropical clime,

balmy, humid, we

lie in each other’s arms,

as if to freeze the moment,

to live in that narrow

space between one heartbeat

and the next.



19.



In

memory of an

blue flame burning

crimson in the

lamentations of a

rude, half-sized shade,

she has written in

words so unlike hers,

but for the elegant

swirls fraudulently

eviscerating the pages

flipping in my mind. It’s

not yet time, but the

refund on our nightmares

has been withheld by someone

too calm in mourning to trust.

After we’ve been apart,

the birds perched

on her shoulders

with strands of her

hair in their beaks I

take, I choose to take as

proof I’m in a place I

shouldn’t have come. It’s

an full-scale joke,

obscene,

exaggerated,

pornographic

in its

contempt for

subtlety,

nuance,

grace. We

live in the moment,

in that narrow space between

one moment and the next,

a silver feather like

an impossible dream,

until we are no longer together,

but I dreaming of her and

she, surely, dreaming of me,

the full-scale joke

on us, this time,

on us, as it’s always been,

in her a salvation from the

unbearable hopelessness

pervading every breath

we draw in

and every breath

we push out. In love,

in making love we

become something other than

what we are, turning the

full-scale joke on itself,

at least for now.



20.



Here

the psyche

celebrates as the

victor, bolstered

by the promise of an

unsolved riddle. It’s

in hers, in the way the

splendorous warmth of

her hair scattering

the setting sun’s light

that survives true

beauty, not by some

vendor’s last urging,

nor the carcass of an unshelved,

smokeproof cockpit,

locking on the sound

of her voice as if it

were a

physical thing,

appearing from memory

like a monster in the mist.

We are carefree,

taking the chance at

true love

without concern for

largess; she’s tired,

now, tired of

answering for me, of

explaining about me, of

looking for an excuse to

keep going, of

looking for an excuse to

stop. Neutral,

neutrality is the enemy

of our love, if

needful of our future

and if

mindful of our past,

we may still yet win the day.

Our love has become

like the wind,

scattering our senses,

an even keel

impossible; but I crave this feeling.

In the afterwards of

our having made love

we nearly convince

ourselves we can

still be as we were.

This, then, is the

hidden largess we are

allowed by the psyche,

lensed behind the memories

of ourselves as in love,

united as though we were one.



Addendum.



All this talk of

things like ‘largess’

and a ‘full-scale joke’ shouldn’t

take from the essence of it all;

I’m in love, and she is, too.



21.



It’s dark,

too dark,

without light the

darkness seeming to

taunt us. There’s something

seductive in its taunts,

as though behind there

lies a promise, the promise

of something more.

But the knowledge

can’t but survive,

a knowledge of where

we’ve been. I’m in love with

her, she’s the love of my life.

An darkened

room fades to black,

an orange glow

radiates from a

central point, from a

place somewhere between

nothing and all.

It’s been so

long since

we’ve held

each other,

since we’ve,

despite our

weaknesses,

despite our

frailty, and

with dawn ascending

slowly over the horizon,

we may avenge the night

through the coming day,

living vicariously through its light.

As dawn breaks,

its light reaches

across the bed I share with her;

her bosom casts shadows

like mountains’ peaks,

and her hair rustles

gently as she turns. It’s

surreal, unreal,

a phantom moment

to make the

dagger’s blade

cut through us cleanly.

In love, I am like the

wind, prone to unpredictable

gusts of strength,

pushing me to an

endless parade of humiliation

interspersed with

random acts of insanity;

but I wouldn’t have it

any other way. If only

time would allow, I might

turn back the clock

and link through a pattern

of black dots to find

ourselves again.



22.



It says

something about

the spirit of

volunteering when

historical orders view

themselves through the lens of

our present passions.

(Or dispassions,

as the case may be).

In love, I forget

myself. In enmity, the

sudden realization of

myself, of the things I’ve

said and of the things I’ve

done strikes in full force,

seeming to emerge

suddenly like a black

mass looming from behind

a thick fog. Here,

dearly, in a perfect

missionary of peace and love,

we are so very unreasonable,

so unmoved, her health

and her success

contrasting against

my sickness

and my failure.

But it’s nearly dark,

for even such a night

as this, it may soon

be my time to quit. She

had felt my arms not

for the milder of cases

yielding in ten days,

perhaps two weeks, her

suddenly desirous

character knowing,

looming large by my

untimely demise. We

are as one. With an

whimsical seriousness

a last chance

presents itself,

her arms finding

the small of

my back. Among

them, I sense the

desirous

agitation of

she who would

seek to

overthrow the

world at large. And

I surrender at her touch.



23.



As they are

losing their septuplets

we look for the first

sign of a smiling snap.

As we are

made into

sophisticated tools,

manipulated for the benefit

of something greater

than ourselves, we

lose the weariness, the

uneasiness of our own

mocking perfection.

Alien, we are as

they who would slash

across the sky, thin,

ghostly visages, grim

parodies, humourless, yet

surreal. In love,

in love, in love, in love,

an obsession with self-parody

we become. But it’s not

too late. It’s almost too late.

But we’re not quite there yet.

The ascetic virtues can be

enlightening. The love of

our lives can extend outward,

encompassing all,

but so, too, can it

withdraw inward,

looking only at the self.

In her arms, I have found

favour, on the previous day

favour’s fortune finding

fame for future’s frame,

a

troop transport training

after one last naked truth

lingering lovingly on the

precipice of despair.

Actually, according to the

rules that govern this sort of thing,

the fire of our love should’ve

cooled, by now, to a charred,

still-smoldering embers; but

why, then, am I

consumed in an

uncontrollable inferno? The

search for her phase, for

the character she’s become

in the banality of systematic

theft, is a search I’ve

come to realize.

Three men walk

along a railroad’s tracks,

weeds sprouting

between the rails, the

trains long ago stopped,

rails left to rot while

men look back on what

used to be. Love, love, love.

Love, I love her, as I’ve

always loved her, as I’ll always

love her. It’s a

piece of small passport

for the non-drowsy sales

centre, losing our minds

all the while.



24.



The

idea of

our anti-love

seems preposterous,

arrogant, condescending,

self-righteous and self-important.

An

crushing

realization that I’ve

frightened myself

into believing

we’re more

than we are.

Windchimes chime

in the early evening’s

breeze, her name

almost-hides behind the

chiming of the windchime’s chimes.

An love for the

pages of memory to

hide like a well-kept

secret deep in the last

chapters of a book, an

love made out to be more than

it is. We’re like a

misplaced period, an

obscure turn of phrase,

maybe a mistake. Nothing

more than our hectic and

sentimental memories can

make it all worthwhile. Three

men walk along a railroad’s

tracks, reaching the

end of the line before

turning and making

back for home. Still

not clean, still not clean.

As I’ve committed myself

to the love of my life, a

twenty-four hour thought

lines itself along the

notion of a

rude, full-scale

joke, love, I’m in love,

as I’ve always been in love.

Style serves story.

Story shapes style.

Don’t you think

today’s top deals

make for a sad

state of affairs?

Her name, her name,

in love a toxic stew of emotions

roiling about in at the

mere mention of her name.

An love for the

pages of memory,

left in place, her

face and her voice

and her name all

blending to form a

final paroxysm that

sickens me to my core.

But there’s not much

time left. There’s

never much time. We’re

all here only for a short

time, and after we’ve

been together I can’t

fathom the notion

of being with anyone

else

ever

again.



25.



Here we are.

We are here.

Condemnation,

cooperation,

communion. We’ve

done all right, since

you’ve been away,

and

what really brings me back

after all this time is the

memory of our love,

the way it hides behind the

soft, warm haze of so

many years gone by.

Love is, is,

too cruel to be

wrought upon the

young, the domestic, the

puerile and the hired.

When we’re young,

love seems such a noble thing,

but as we withdraw into the

safety and the security of

adulthood we are

made to learn

the limitations of

ourselves, outrun by a life

lived at the speed of dark.

It’s a ruse.

When we’re young,

we begin as something.

When we age,

we become something else.

No more, I tell you, no more.

In love, I’m like the

fool’s veneer, a

scheduled humiliation

leaving no room

for her. It’s this place.

When I close my eyes and

imagine, I can nearly hear her

voice. It’s a sweet fantasy,

childish, demure. Nice

language, nice stocks.

It’s been

so long

since we’ve

seen each

other. It’s

been too

long since

we’ve seen

each other.

Broken windows,

shattered glass.

Stolen hearts,

wanted minds.

She’s the

love of

my life.

If she’s

reading this

right now,

then I’d

like to

talk to her

alone, if

you’d let

me have

a moment

with her. No,

it’s not right, it’s

never been right.

When the waters

part and the way

forward seems clear,

we learn to turn around

and to deny ourselves

the sure path to salvation.

Drifted, I’ve drifted

from the notion of

our love I’ve held,

of our love as

pure and innocent,

but it’s an

juvenile notion,

puerile, impossible to

take seriously. After a

mid-winter’s snowfall,

she and I sit in each

other’s arms, her

warmth spreading over

my cold, on the

road ahead

tire tracks reaching

into the distance, stopped

only by the

iced-over lake and the

towering mountains ahead with

peaks obscured behind

a late-morning haze. She

stands. I remain seated. She

leaves. I stay. You’re

the love of my life. You’re

a shining light, a beam of warmth

amid the frigid harshness of

winter’s depths. Your skin

lingers against mine, even after

we’ve separated. The salty

taste of your tears lingers

on the tip of my tongue, and

it’s as though I’m still

kissing you while you

cry in my arms. But

it’s over. We’re finished.

In love, I am like the

cold, mid-winter’s day,

given to extremes, prone

to warmth hidden by the rapidly

darkening skies. Don’t

leave. Never leave. Leave.



In Closing.



Once again, battling the

blaze we express our

gratitude, breaking free

with nothing, having lost

everything and having lost it

quickly. Where, besides a

lover’s reverence could we

find everything we’ve lost,

again?



The End



Thank you for reading this book of poetry. If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review at the retailer where you downloaded it. - J.T.


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